What happens if I give up being a Carer?

I live and look after my ex husband, we are companions. I myself am under a local mental health team, my GP did an urgent referral.
But, I still have to go on caring, he suffers with schizophrenia, Parkinsonism, heart problem.
He can be controlling and verbally abusive to me, I cannot retire until I am 66, so under 2 years to go.

He could not live in our rented home if I wasn’t with him. If I decided to resign from caring?
Would the social services find him a place like ‘Extra Care’ or residential care?

They tell me it is all voluntary, but if we can no longer live together.
My health is not good, a clinical depression diagnosed, feel so tired, he can wake me up at 2am, 3am for non urgent requests.

The relationship can be so toxic.
I feel I want to pack a case and go, but I have nowhere to go.
No family, feel very isolated.

What would you like to happen now? Respite for a short beak, or him moving out permanently, or someone else in the house while you have a holiday?


Please tell us a bit more. If you want formal respite the first step in order to do so is to talk to the council tomorrow morning about requesting a care needs evaluation. Good luck is needed here. Make the utmost of your needs assessment. This is often your only chance to tell it all. Either email or ring up to start on the entire process first thing tomorrow morning. If you are currently not claiming benefits please feel free to also see if anyone can assist with that. Again I don’t have that much to go on. One more thing I found helpful was a note pad and pen to make brief summary notes. I scheduled meetings. I met with five care providers once at one stage in my home to discuss myself and what I needed. It was rather hard work but I muddled through.

Hi Anita
Sending some empathy and support.
You may feel isolated but in reaching out, you’re not alone. We hear you.

You said he’s your ex husband, and you’re companions, so my understanding is that you’re feeling more compelled to care (‘I still have to go on caring’) & you’re not in a loving caring relationship with him. In addition, you’re also providing finance and accommodation because you’re still working.

In my humble opinion, every person has the right to choose whether they wish to be a carer or not, each person’s situation is unique and it’s a person’s right to choose. Your relationship has changed and even if he has health issues, and perhaps a complicated past with you, YOU still have this choice.

I’m relieved to hear you’re connected to the local mental health team and that they, as well as your GP are aware of the situation.

As your health is not good and you have some potentially big changes ahead if you choose to stop caring for your ex-husband, perhaps the best first small step is to organise a few days of respite, away from him. The distance and rest can provide you with the space you need to answer the bigger and more permanent questions, as @bowlingbun said, and to prepare for an assessment as @thara_2207 suggested.

Trying to deal with everything and a big change in one go could be too much to ask of yourself right now. So perhaps, as you’re in desperate need to ‘pick up a case and go’ get your GP, mental health team & social services focused on this first?

I’m much less experienced with regard to social services and mental health teams These days the quality and availability of services and support vary widely.

One thought - as he is your ex husband and has various health issues, with my limited understanding I would think that he may be a ‘higher priority’ for social service if he is treated as separate from you. Other people can correct me on that. @Charlesh47 ?? @bowlingbun ?? I’m thinking if you are not financially supporting or accommodating him the need for social services to find appropriate options would increase.

Lean on your GP & the mental health team to organise a break is my main thought. With your diagnosis & exhaustion, I’m sure that trying to see the woods for the trees and a way forward is daunting.
Perhaps calling and talking to someone e.g. MIND organisation or the CarersUK near you could help: Support where you live | Carers UK
Take care, I hope you can make some positive steps forward tomorrow, for your own health & well-being.


Chiming in again. I found it very helpful to contact a few local community colleges in order to see if I could apply to do a adult education course there. Take a look at the official website, or call, email or visit to get a copy of the course brochure. Best wishes to you as well. Make some brief summary notes on your course options too. All carers need me time and a chance to recover and heal. Bear this in mind. I always feel better when I take a break in addition to do other stuff. Whether that is time at the shops or in a library it counts.

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Hi Anita

Social services should treat your ex as a higher priority for support if they understand that you are no longer willing to offer care, and no longer willing to take the abuse. Under the Care Act 2014, you have a legal right to refuse to care. No one can make you do it, expect you to do it, or try to cajole you into doing it. Once you say “enough”, that’s it. But you need to make sure they understand that that is the case, and that you mean it.


I am so sorry not to reply, but thank you for your lovely reply to my question.

I had a mental burnout, I had no energy and felt I cannot go on, saw a GP, he even gave me some Diazepam, as I kept shaking, a shaking inside and he said too much adrenaline and other hormones running through me!

I had a short break, he went into a care home, and in a couple of weeks a new care assessment.

Best wishes
Anita x


Thank you, it’s a very good idea as it would be a welcomed break and environment. Unfortunately, I live in a small village and the nearest college is 10 miles away. Buses are quite rare, so I feel very trapped.

Always fancied the Open University but not sure if Carers can actually do it.
I have been referred to Mind and they do a walking group, so feel a bit better about that.

Best wishes


Charles, thanks for your advice
Best wishes


Hi @Anita_190712, Please don’t worry about replying!

I’m relieved that your GP has been helping you. It sounds like changes are already underway toward a better situation. I hope you’re continuing to have support from the GP but also that there are friends or others to support you, nearby.

Burnout…like any ‘burn’ takes time to heal and to rejuvenate…sitting in empathy with you.
We’re here for you if you need to vent, share or need ideas to support you through the care assessment.
take care, best wishes

Victoria, thank you for replying, I am still recovering and I was in a phase where I was switching my mobile and landline off🙁

Take care too x


We all have our breaking point. I met mine, years of struggling to cope with relatives and son with learning difficulty. Even the GP practice tried to bully me into caring for mum again just a week after major surgery. Finally they sent her to have her leg x rayed, to discover she had a broken leg! Your caring days are now over. Make it clear to all concerned that you CANNOT care for your ex any more. Make sure your G P supports you.


@Anita_190712 you’re welcome. I’m really pleased you got some help and things are happening for you. Look after yourself.

Anita I am glad things are progressing. I could relate to SO MUCH of your post. I am caring for my 84 year old husband and am 61. He too is mentally very abusive. Sadly we own the house and no way would he move out and divorce would mean the house would have to be sold plus HE may get the right to stay and I would have to go . Like you, I do not think he could live alone but he passed the Memory Clinic test in May and got discharged so the risk is there. But your husband is an EX. I agree with the advice given. YOU have a right to a life too. Sending hugs from me.

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Try the U3A in order. Good luck.

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Of course you can. Don’t be silly. Anyone can do OU. It is like future learn but much more.

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Hi @Anita_190712, well done for reaching out to get support for yourself. It’s not easy but I often think the first steps are the hardest. Our circumstances are very different but I found myself in a position of burnout a few years ago and had a complete breakdown which required medical treatment and intensive therapy. Recovery is not an easy road to travel but take it a day at a time, reach out for support wherever you can get it, and above all else, be kind to yourself.

As @thara_2207 mentioned, you could look at https://www.u3a.org.uk/. They offer a range of activities, learning programmes and opportunities to connect with others, both online and in person.

Take care of yourself x


Anita, after you give up caring, you need a lot of time to get things back on an even keel again. I found a book called Starting Again by Sarah Litvinoff was really helpful in helping me to work out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. On the subject of studying, these days there are all sorts of Access courses for mature students who may not have formal entry qualifications. You can investigate things like this as part of your Escape Plan!


Please give us a update original poster thank you.

Hi again

Well, an new older persons social worker is coming to visit us early October,
What happens with me I soften up and my guilty head appears!

I still have dreams of leaving as I need to feel free again. The ideas mentioned I am looking into to. The BIG problem is housing, I have a lot of questions for the social worker in October. He can still be verbally abusive, the mental health team are now involved.

I am hoping to be going away to Canada for 2 weeks very soon! Going solo, a little scared, he will be going in a care home.

I have been in such a deep rut and fearful state for so long now, it’s great to write this down and getting the helpful responses back😊

Best wishes
Anita x